Shelter Animal Reiki Association

Shelter Animal Reiki Association

Caring For The Caregivers

..posted by John Sawyer

One of the many wonderful things about Reiki is its ability to heal the healer, so to speak. As we offer Reiki to others, the energy flowing through us benefits us, as well. This is one aspect of Reiki that makes it ideal for shelters and rescue organizations.

As I mentioned in my last post, when we offer Reiki to the animals in the shelters in which we volunteer, it is equally important to be mindful of the staff and volunteers who care for the animals. As anyone who has worked with animal rescues knows, it is a never-ending task. There are always more animals in need than resources available. As a result, overwhelm and burnout are very common among rescue workers. This is one reason SARA is dedicated to teaching Reiki to shelter workers.

Reiki is as much a way of living as a healing technique. The Reiki Precepts guide us to balance in our lives on many levels while the Reiki energy we offer to other beings helps to balance our physical bodies. Balance is very important for rescue workers as it is easy to lose perspective when faced with the grim circumstances that are all too common in shelter and rescue work.

SARA’s mission is to bring Reiki to animals in shelters and rescues for their highest good. An important part of that is helping the caregivers do the best job they can as they care for the animals on a daily basis. Ultimately, supporting the caregivers supports the animals, which is what SARA is all about.

As SARA defines its teaching curriculum, emphasis is placed upon techniques that shelter workers may use to help themselves stay grounded and to maintain a healthy balance physically and emotionally. Traditional Reiki teachings are the basis of this curriculum with additional resources added specifically for that purpose.

For example, meditation is a wonderful way to quiet the mind and bring it back into balance. Teaching shelter workers specific grounding meditations gives them an important and powerful tool for maintaining their equilibrium.

Teaching shelter workers to recognize signs of burnout in themselves and their co-workers is important, as well. It is easy to get so caught up in the daily details that we don’t notice the imbalance until it becomes a real problem. Even something as simple as taking 5 minutes prior to each shift to get grounded can make a huge difference!

Expectations and intentions play major roles in our daily lives. Taking a few minutes at the beginning of the day to set our intentions can make all the difference between a “good” day and a “bad” day. In the case of shelter staff, simply setting the intention to do the best they can be of significant benefit.

Finally, following up with students after their intial Reiki training is vital. It’s not enough to hold classes and leave students on their own afterward. Many will have questions and encounter situations they don’t know how to handle. Making a point of asking how they are doing with their Reiki practice and being open and available for questions and just listening to their experiences will help them become better practitioners more quickly.

Kathleen Prasad

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